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ZMPCZM016000.11.05 TENS for knee osteoarthritis

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ZMPCZM016000.11.05 TENS for knee osteoarthritis

  1. 1. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008 Issue 4 (Status: Unchanged) Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for knee osteoarthritis M Osiri, V Welch, L Brosseau, B Shea, J McGowan, P Tugwell, G Wells DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002823 This version first published online: 23 October 2000 in Issue 4, 2000 Abstract Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease that affects synovial joints causing degeneration and destruction of hyaline cartilage. To date, no curative treatment for OA exists. The primary goals for OA therapy are to relieve pain, maintain or improve functional status, and minimize deformity. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a noninvasive modality that is commonly used in physiotherapy to control both acute and chronic pain arising from several conditions. A number of trials evaluating the efficacy of TENS in OA have been published. Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of TENS in the treatment of knee OA, studies of one year or longer were included in the review. The primary outcomes of interest were those described by the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials (OMERACT 3), which included pain relief, functional status, patient global assessment and change in joint imaging. The secondary objective was to determine the most effective mode of TENS application for pain control. Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, HEALTHSTAR, PEDro and Current Contents (to December 1999) using the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group search strategy. We also hand-searched reference lists and consulted content experts. Selection criteria: Two independent reviewers selected the trials that met predetermined inclusion criteria. Data collection and analysis: Two independent reviewers extracted the data using standardized forms and assessed the quality of studies for randomization, blinding and dropouts. A third reviewer was consulted to resolve any differences. For dichotomous outcomes, relative risks (RR) were calculated. For continuous data, weighted mean differences (WMD) or standardized mean differences (SMD) of the change from baseline were calculated. A fixed effects model was used unless heterogeneity of the populations existed. In this case, a random effects model was used.
  2. 2. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008 Issue 4 (Status: Unchanged) Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Main results: Seven trials were eligible to be included in this review. Six used TENS as the active treatment while one study used acupuncture like TENS (AL-TENS). A total of 148 and 146 patients were involved in the active TENS treatment and placebo groups respectively. Three studies were crossover studies and the other four were parallel group, randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The median methodological quality of these studies was three out of five. Pain relief from active TENS and AL-TENS treatment was significantly better than placebo treatment. Knee stiffness also improved significantly in the active treatment group compared to placebo. Different modes of TENS settings (high frequency and strong burst mode TENS) all demonstrated a significant benefit in pain relief of the knee OA over placebo. Subgroup analyses showed a heterogeneity in the studies with methodological quality of three or more and those with repeated TNS applications. Authors’ conclusions: TENS and AL-TENS are shown to be effective in pain control over placebo in this review. Heterogeneity of the included studies was observed, which might be due to the different study designs and outcomes used. More well designed studies with a standardized protocol and adequate numbers of participants are needed to conclude the effectiveness of TENS in the treatment of OA of the knee. Plain language summary TENS and AL-TENS over at least four weeks are effective for pain control and relief of knee stiffness in osteoarthritis Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a non-invasive modality with very few adverse effects that is used in physiotherapy for control of pain. Seven studies using TENS in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) were identified for this review; device setting, application and outcomes measured varied between studies. Active TENS and “acupuncture like” TENS (AL-TENS) treatment for at least four weeks effectively reduced pain. Knee stiffness also improved significantly. More well designed studies, with a large study population and sufficient intervention period, are needed to determine the overall effectiveness of TENS for the treatment of knee OA.

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